FTA Monitored Grantees’ Corrective Actions, but Lacks Policy and Guidance To Oversee Grantees With Restricted Access to Federal Funds
More than 2,000 urban and rural transit operators receive Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants funds and technical assistance. If FTA becomes aware that a grantee has a significant internal control weakness or does not comply with Federal requirements, the Agency can temporarily restrict the grantee’s access to Federal grant funds. From October 2010 through March 2014, FTA restricted access to Federal funds for 35 grantees for a variety of reasons, including unauthorized funding sources and inadequate competition for major procurements. In fiscal year 2013, these 35 grantees received over $1.7 billion in FTA grant funding.
FTA monitored grantees’ progress on corrective actions but lacks policies and guidance on the Federal funding restriction process. For the three grantees we reviewed (Chicago Metra, Miami-Dade Transit, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), FTA regional offices took steps to protect Federal funds and monitored the grantees’ progress in taking corrective actions. However, we found differences in FTA regional offices’ approaches that, in some cases, led to inefficiencies in monitoring and unclear documentation of transit agencies’ corrective actions. These different approaches are attributable to FTA’s lack of policies and guidance specifically geared toward grantees with restricted access to Federal funding. As a result, it is difficult for FTA Headquarters to track issues over time and across multiple transit agencies to gain assurance that its regional offices provide sufficient oversight of at-risk grantees and adequately protect millions of dollars in Federal grant funding. FTA concurred with our one recommendation to improve the Agency’s policies and guidance for grantees with restricted access to Federal funding.